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ScienceShot: Why Female Lemurs Sleep Around

4 October 2011 7:01 pm
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Researchers have turned the tables in the battle of the sexes. In an attempt to figure out why female mouse lemurs (Microcebus murinus)—a tiny nocturnal species native to Madagascar—mate with multiple males, scientists overfed some females from birth, causing them to plump up larger than the males. The team assumed that the females bred with several partners because they were being sexually harassed, but even though the plus-size ladies were able to defend themselves from unwanted amorous advances, they still shacked up with multiple males every night. In fact, they had more encounters with males than did females who were unusually small, the researchers report online today in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B. Either a polygamous lifestyle confers some unknown evolutionary advantage for females, the team concludes, or girls really do just want to have fun.

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